Tidying Up: The Importance of “Staging” for Home Sale

First impressions matter! One of the hardest challenges sellers face when listing their home is de-cluttering. Whether your client is moving up to a larger home, downsizing, or moving in with family, an open house is a great way to get your clients house noticed. Before scheduling your photographer to take photos of the listing, help your client commit to tidying up. Encourage them to sort through items and pack up all sentimental items now to keep them safe during the open house and to make moving that much easier!

Look through the buyer’s eyes as much as possible and tell it exactly as it is and not just what your seller wants to hear. Keep your target buyers in mind. Your next step should be to do a walk through with your seller and jot down any problem areas. You definitely don’t want to start preparing for an open house by making updates willy-nilly.  Depending on your client’s budget and time frame, create a list, putting top-priority issues that are sure to turn off buyers, first. Remember, today’s buyers are looking for move in ready properties. Below you will find the results of The National Association of Realtors Annual Profile of Home Staging. Notice all the benefits of having the home staged to truly benefit your principal.

As the big day for the open house approaches don’t forget to put on the finishing touches. The home should be in tip-top condition and ready for potential buyers. Here are a few last-minute details to really make the home shine:

  • Set out vases of fresh-cut flowers.They'll make the home smell nice and add a splash of color.
  • Let in the light.Buyers want a bright, open house, not a dark and dreary cave. Turn on all the lights and open all the curtains.
  • Adjust the temperature.Keep the home comfortable -- not too cold or too hot.
  • Serve food and drinks.A cold glass of lemonade in the summer or some warm, freshly baked cookies in the winter will encourage buyers to stick around longer, giving them more time to check out the home.
  • Have your client leave!They are probably proud of how fantastic the house looks, but they shouldn’t stick around to point this out to buyers. The last thing you want to do is make potential buyers feel uncomfortable. Tell them to spend the day out and about and let the perfectly prepped home sell itself!

 


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Nebraska Real Estate Professionals Gear Up for Renewal Season

Brokers and Salespersons in Nebraska are required to complete 18 hours of continuing education each two-year licensing cycle.

If your license starts with an odd number your renewal is November 30, 2019.

How do I renew my Nebraska real estate license?

  1. Complete 18 hours of continuing education
  2. Pay a fee
    • Salesperson: $160
    • Brokers: $200
  3. Go to the Nebraska Real Estate Commission portal and renew your license by November 30th.

What continuing education is required to renew my Nebraska real estate license?

You must complete 18 credit hours of approved courses each 2-year cycle. Courses must include: 12 hours of designated subject matter.

  • Courses that are approved for designated subject areas contain an “R” in the approval number.
  • You cannot take the same course twice in a licensing cycle

When does my Nebraska real estate license continuing education have to be completed?

Continuing education must be completed by November 30th, however, if you do not complete it on time you have from December 1st to June 2020 to renew and pay a $25 late fee.

Where do I find courses to renew my Nebraska real estate license?

Real Estate Training Institute offers Nebraska approved online continuing education courses to renew your license. We offer a complete 18-hour package,  12-hour Reinstatement package (if you are currently inactive and wish to re-activate) and a 6-hour Required course package. Individual courses are also available.

Who submits my continuing education to the state of Nebraska?

Real Estate Training Institute will submit all Nebraska Real Estate Professionals continuing education.  Continuing education certificates are available immediately after completing courses.

 


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Real Estate’s American Dream

The American dream. Owning your own home is the largest transaction an average American will make in their lifetime. Conventionally, as a salesperson or broker, you are the catalyst to make that dream a reality. Showing homes, placing offers, negotiating and eventually making the deal. Customarily you work on commission which incentivizes you to get the buyer into the highest transaction you can. To the untrained eye that customary 3% commission doesn’t look like much but as an agent you know that it can add up to thousands or tens of thousands. In 2018 $80 billion dollars were paid in real estate commissions.  This is where the traditional real estate market exists and where current events seek to shake the ancestral market.

Now, more than ever, social media marketing is crucial to reach those customers. Networking, blogging, creating relationships online will all make or break your business. When you have real estate brokerages that are setting new precedence online by allowing more time for focusing on the customer - whether it’s for the buy or the sale. They offer a do-it-yourself approach, such as providing title services, and securing the best mortgage, ultimately offering the buyer an all in one experience. How can you compete? Get online. Start with a social media marketing course like ours and learn how to open doors to new customers and keep your legacy clients coming back. The lessons in this course will take you through the development phase of your social media presence, and on to a place where you are confidently creating online content that represents you in the best light possible. Aligning yourself with your buyer or seller and maintaining a virtual presence will keep your business and reputation attractive to clients. Using Social Media effectively as a real estate professional takes a certain amount of finesse, but if done correctly, can be a major catalyst for advancing your career.


 

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS

Learn the ins and outs of social media marketing from experts that work in both social media and real estate.  Use these tools and tricks to upgrade your personal and professional profiles, drive leads, and increase business.

$39.00Add to cart

Virtual Real Estate

Social Media has become one of the top ways Real Estate salespeople and brokers advertise themselves. You can expand your network, engage business partners and attract new customers all with a few keystrokes on a computer or smart device. Social Media can be the least expensive and most effective of advertising out there today. Forecasts by eMarketer show digital advertising surpassing both print and tv for the first time in history. Now is the perfect time to dive into social media marketing and get ahead of the future of digital Real Estate.

Real Estate as we know it is facing many changes. Virtual companies are on the rise and the only way to capitalize on what’s coming is to jump out in front and embrace the change. You cannot be overrun by these virtual companies if you build a virtual presence yourself. Perhaps your business will never be as big as Zillow or Redfin, but it doesn’t need to be. Your biggest asset as a Real Estate agent is your network. Currently, the biggest Real Estate buying group are Millennials and these Millennials account for 70% of Instagram users. Your buying audience is literally at your virtual fingertips, and when the market becomes digital, your business will be secure.

As history has taught us, fighting change won’t help your business. The best course of action that you can take for yourself and your business is knowing how to navigate the virtual world and accepting that very soon it will become priceless. Social Media can be a complicated and confusing landscape, If you are unsure of how to begin, check out our course titled: Social Media Marketing and you will become a social media whiz in no time. Get started below!


 

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS

Learn the ins and outs of social media marketing from experts that work in both social media and real estate.  Use these tools and tricks to upgrade your personal and professional profiles, drive leads, and increase business.

$39.00Add to cart

A New Type Of Credit Score Is Coming

The current score system works well in that it provides a sufficient way to figure out low costs and in an automated way how likely someone is able repay you. But it has a disadvantage in that a lot of people don’t provide a payment history because they don’t have credit cards such as younger people and immigrants.

Ultra FICO changes that dynamic by using consumer contributed data. The Fair Isaac Corp., the creators of FICO, announced that Ultra FICO will be more widely released in April 2019. Alongside traditional metrics, the Ultra FICO looks at your banking behavior in 3 areas:

  • Your account history
  • Your account balance
  • Your account activity

It gives consumers the ability to give permission for their data—rich data that can be used as valuable insight for lenders. It has the potential to score people that are considered unscorable and enhance existing scores. This may help people get better interest rates.

Marketplace.org reported that “there are 53 million people in the United States who do not have FICO scores, and the new Ultra FICO will catch 10 million to 15 million of those.”

Don’t look for Ultra FICO to replace the regular FICO score. Ultra FICO is voluntary, so it will likely be used to give more insight to lender if the regular FICO is not high enough to qualify the consumer.

 


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Should You Get A Real Estate License?

Real estate is a fluctuating industry with potential for large profits and a flexible schedule. The question is, "Is it right for you?"

Question 1: Is the Michigan real estate market going to continue growing?

Several sources believe Michigan's real estate market will continue to grow even as rising mortgage rates slow the market for sellers in other areas of the country. Home prices in Grand Rapids are forecast to grow at 8.2%, the largest home price increase in the nation. In fact, real estate resources nationwide are encouraging investment in the Grand Rapids area. The city also ranks second for the hottest real estate markets for millennials.

Grand Rapids isn't the only area of Michigan experiencing growth. Numbers recently released by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's office show residential property values have increased by an average of 12% in more than 90% of Detroit neighborhoods. The rest of the state is expected to experience continually growing housing prices but a declining number of homes on the market. While this may sound like bad news initially, growing home prices mean higher commission rates which can make up for the lower volume of sales.

In other words, while the rest of the country is preparing for a decreasing real estate market, Michigan can expect to see continued growth in urban areas and stable growth in the rural north.

Question 2: What makes a successful real estate salesperson?

Successful salespersons come in many forms, while it is not necessary to possess all of the below personality traits, these are a few that most success stories share.

  1. Social. This is a big one. You need to feel comfortable speaking to home buyers, other agents, and potential clients. Successful agents network constantly and put a lot of value in their earned relationships. This is key to getting referrals and growing your business.
  2. Self-motivated. Your broker probably won't want to hold your hand for very long. You need to be able to complete tasks and find clients without outside motivation.
  3. Relatable. Home buyers want a real estate agent they can trust. It is important that they feel you understand their needs and concerns on a personal level to assure the client you have their best interests in mind.
  4. Persistent. Sometimes your deals with fall through. Its a big part of the job that you cannot let discourage you.
  5. Analytical. Accomplished agents can determine which homes and clients have the highest chance of success.

Question 3: Can I fit this into my current schedule?

The short answer - probably. Many salespeople start out parttime, this is a great way to dip your toe into the waters without becoming overwhelmed with start-up fees. Your schedule can be as flexible as your clients allow, making it easy to work around another job.

Question 4: How do I get started?

  1. Complete an approved 40 hour Michigan Real Estate Fundamentals Course.
    All potential salespeople in Michigan must complete an approved 40 Hour course. Real Estate Training Institute offers this course online in HD video so you can fit it into your busy schedule. The onscreen instructor, Gwyn Besner is available to answer any questions you have while taking the course.
  2. Submit your real estate license application. Go to www.michigan.gov/icola to apply for a license.
  3. Register with PSI for your exam. The cost for the Salesperson or the Broker exam is $76 and the tests are timed (180 minutes).

You can find detailed instructions here.


Licensing Resources

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Salesperson

Why You Should Upgrade to A Broker License

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Broker License

 


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Cyber Crime and Real Estate

Technological advances have certainly made many aspects of our job easier, but along with them come certain risks. Cybercriminals have found creative ways to infiltrate the world of real estate, often costing their victims hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In a public service announcement released July 12, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported that the real estate industry has become especially susceptible to business email compromises (BECs) and email account compromises (EACs). Source: Darkreading.com

Type “Cyber crimes and Real Estate” into your favorite internet search engine and you'll find many examples of criminal activity targeting Real Estate Agents and their clients.

Here are just a few of my search results:

Learn how to protect yourself and your clients with Real Estate Training Institutes 3-hour online Risk Management continuing education course.
This state-approved online video and text course will help agents prepare for the risks of doing business by helping to identify threats such as cybercrime, identity theft, and internet liability as well as anti-trust laws and OSHA regulations relevant to the real estate industry.

Here is just a snippet of the Cyber Crime chapter from this course.

Criminals are hacking into the email accounts of real estate agents or other persons involved in a real estate transaction and using information gained from the hack to dupe a party into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hackers often send an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient, often the buyer, that there has been a last-minute change to the wiring instructions.  Following the new instructions, the recipient will wire funds directly to the hacker’s account, which will be cleared out in a matter of minutes. The money is almost always lost forever.

The National Association of REALTORS® urges its members and state and local REALTOR® associations to be on high alert for email and online fraud. In May 2015, NAR issued an alert regarding a sophisticated email wire fraud hitting the real estate industry. Since then, the incidents of online scams targeting practitioners have continued to rise, but the advice is the same. Bottom line: Do not let your guard down! Start from the assumption that any email in your inbox could be a targeted attack from a criminal.

The course goes on to outline methods that you can use to help prevent such attacks upon you and your clients. To order this course and receive continuing education credits for license renewal visit Real Estate Training Institute and choose your state. You’ll find a list of state-approved courses available for credit as well as license renewal deadlines and information listed on your state page. Risk Management is also available as a professional development option for anyone wanting to expand their knowledge base.


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Predicting the Real Estate Market in 2019

2018 was a fickle year in Real Estate. The year started with sky-high home prices, historically low mortgage rates and a definitive upper hand for sellers. In recent months though, home price growth has wavered, rates have risen to their highest point in nearly eight years, and favor has started to shift from seller to buyer. 2019 predictions are showing that we are moving from an incredibly hot real estate market to a more normalized one. Housing inventory looks to rise back up to 2017 levels, and price growth, while likely still positive, will be the lowest we’ve seen since 2014 or possibly even 2011.

Investors and house-flippers will back away from the cooling market and sellers will have to adjust their price expectations as buyers grapple with rising mortgage rates and already-high home prices. A still-growing economy and increased access to credit will support more home buyer demand, but higher interest rates will make home-buying more expensive, so it’s hard to say whether home sales will stay down or rebound next year.

In 2019, homebuyers will enjoy more inventory and less competition from speculators and house-flippers, which will lead to more people enjoying the benefits of homeownership. It will cost more to borrow, but more people will have access to credit for home-buying. This will motivate lenders to expand their customer base to low-income borrowers and first-time homebuyers. But of course, lenders will charge more for these loans–both to cover the risk of lending to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit and to cover their own costs of borrowing.

Homebuilders will be more cautious about building during a cooling market and focus on building starter homes that are easier to sell than luxury homes. Fewer homes will be built, but more builders will focus on starter homes. Higher labor costs will limit the number of homes built, but, higher wages will increase the demand for starter-homes among working-class Americans. Rates (perhaps three times) in 2019 will increase and push the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate up to about 5.5 percent by the end of the new year.

All in all, housing is set for a slow-down next year, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The medium and long-term prospects for housing are good because demographics are going to continue to support demand. With a slower price appreciation, incomes have an opportunity to catch up. With slower sales, inventory has an opportunity to normalize. A slowdown in 2019 creates a healthier housing market going forward.

https://www.redfin.com/blog/2018/12/redfins-2019-housing-market-predictions.html


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Artificial Intelligence Opportunities in Real Estate

Real Estate, along with every other industry, has advanced from using Artificial Intelligence to improve and support healthier lifestyles for people. In commercial real estate, health-focused principles are more than just trends. They are the beginning of the industry’s promising future. From 2008 to 2017, the number of tech-oriented real estate startups have exploded from a mere 176 to over 1,200 companies. The areas in Real Estate that can really use artificial intelligence to offer healthy solutions are safety, data-driven comfort, and sustainability.

Artificial intelligence in the safety sector of commercial real estate has made a big impact. It provides, for example, better security for those that occupy these spaces. AI and machine learning use anything from voice commands to facial recognition to improve accessibility, security, and infrastructure stability after construction. Eventually, developers will be implementing robots to assist with inspection and repairing damage without utilizing human workers, making it safer for everyone.

Real Estate companies have realized the usefulness of AI data and sensor technology to provide higher comfort and more efficient spaces for consumers. Buildings can become personalized for monitoring, home safety and even senior care. For example, motion sensors can track the tenant’s daily movements so it can then adjust door locks, faucets, electronic devices and monitor optimal temperatures for each tenant. Even though these are simple solutions consumers will enjoy focusing on bigger things while your home adjusts to your comfort.

In Manhattan AI has been implemented in commercial structures already, one such project is the Empire State Building. It currently collects data to identify the buildings energy efficiency so adjustments can be made to keep this historical monument standing and useful for as long as possible. It’s not just HVAC systems and lighting controls that AI can help with. It can also identify roof and insulation issues during construction and water usage patterns which can then be used to identify the best materials to use during construction to offer energy efficient resolutions.

In time, Artificial Intelligence can provide the Real Estate market even more opportunities to make a sale by offering a safe haven with technology both inside and outside of the home.


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Iowa Real Estate FAQ

Iowa real estate agents must renew their licenses by December 31st every three years. Here's everything you need to know to renew your license on time.

What are my Iowa real estate continuing education requirements?

Iowa real estate Salespersons and Brokers are required to complete 36 hours of continuing education each three-year licensing cycle. The 36 hours of education must include 8 hours of law updates, 4 hours of ethics, and 24 hours of elective coursesNote: Only 24 hours may be taken online each three-year renewal period.

How often must I renew my Iowa real estate license?

Iowa real estate licenses must be renewed every three years.

When do I need to renew my Iowa real estate license?

Iowa real estate licenses must be renewed prior to December 31st in your licensing year. The 2017 renewal cycle will be available starting in mid-November. You cannot renew your license before the cycle is open.

Are your courses approved by the Iowa Real Estate Commission?

Yes! Our provider ID is 248. Course approval numbers are included in the course title.

Do you report my continuing education to Iowa Real Estate Commission?

The Iowa Real Estate Commission does not require education providers to report continuing education completions.

How long do I have to complete my Iowa real estate courses after I purchase them?

Individual courses are available for six months from the date of purchase. The purchase of a package will give you access to the coursework for the full length of your licensing cycle (3 years).

Do I have to complete my Iowa real estate courses all at once?

No! You do not have to complete each course in one sitting. Your courses are available to you from any internet enabled device, and our system will keep track of where you start and stop. Our courses are usually broken into 20-25 minutes intervals, which will make it easy for you to complete your course when it’s convenient for you!

How do I renew my Iowa real estate license?

Starting in November 2017, license renewals will be processed through Iowa PLB. The renewal period will begin on November 16, 2017. You’ll need to create your Iowa PLB account to use the system. You cannot renew before the cycle is open. To get started, visit the Iowa Real Estate Homepage, and follow the link for the current renewal cycle at the bottom of the page. The renewal deadline is December 31, 2017.

How much does it cost to renew my Iowa real estate license?

$125 | Salespersons
$170 | Brokers

I missed the due date for my Iowa real estate license renewal, can I still renew?

Yes. Licensees may renew their Iowa real estate license through January 31st of the following year. Example: If your license expired on December 31, 2017, you have through January 31, 2018, to renew your license. A late fee of $25 will be charged in addition to your license renewal fee.


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